I am a senior at BMCC and I am majoring in Political Science. I plan on attending a four year college afterwards in order to get a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. I really want to get an education in order to achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer. However, college is extremely expensive and I come from a low income family. My parents are not citizens of the United States which means that I don’t qualify for FASFA or financial aid of any kind. I spend a lot of time looking for scholarships to help my parents pay for my education but it is difficult to get scholarships. So my parents have to pay for my whole education out of pocket. They insist that I do not get a job, so I can focus on my education. This puts them in a stressful situation and they are having a hard time paying for everything. I am a first generation college student and all I want is to get a quality education. If college was free, my parents wouldn’t have to have this financial burden weighing on their shoulders.
Posts Tagged ‘first-generation student’
Kendice Marshall, Borough of Manhattan Community College
Maya Ranot, Purchase College
I am currently a Junior at Purchase College. I am a communications major with a minor in Psychology. I decided to major in communications because Purchase is a Performing Arts college so there wasn’t much for me, especially not much that I was interested in here.
I personally don’t pay for college, Foster Youth pays for my education and I am grateful for that. TAP is very helpful, however I feel like they can help out students more. My older brother was the first one in my family to go to college, however he didn’t get the chance to finish because he had to help pay bills. I will be graduating with my Bachelors in 2024. I luckily haven’t had any big challenges with paying for college because of Foster Youth. The financial aid awards I’ve gotten pays my tuition and food but not my daily living and other expenses such as money for textbooks. Textbooks are very expensive and sometimes I can’t afford them. Some professors also aren’t understanding of that and it can be frustrating. I live on campus however since I graduated high school in 2020, and that was the peak of COVID therefore we were the first ones affected by COVID first hand. I came to live on campus the second semester of my Sophomore year, like others in my class of 2024. I used to work Freshmen and sophomore year to cover expenses because I was living at home however once I got to campus I stopped to focus on school more and make it my priority. The only issues I’ve run into while registering for classes is not having many options and therefore having to settle for certain courses.
I personally feel like we need more of a variety because I’m not an art student here at SUNY Purchase College and this is a performing arts school. Advising for classes and navigating my way through college has been easy because I’m an EOP student therefore I get a-lot of help from my counselor every semester. I am very thankful for that and I have come to realize that students don’t have the support system in college and they all deserve to have that. College is not easy, especially when you have no support system.
Sharon Huang, Queens College
I’m a junior who majors in Psychology and intends to pursue a career as a therapist. These goals are motivated by my personality traits as an individual and my intent for others to feel heard. I afford my tuition through Federal Pell Grants and New York State Tuition Assistance Program. I am satisfied with the financial aid process and so is my family considering I’m a first generation college student. Difficulties I find within the financial aid system is the substantial pressure to maintain my grades in order to not have my awarded aid decreased. I live off-campus with my family and haven’t run into any issues with professors of class accessibility as yet. I am granted reasonable advice from my advisors and guidance throughout my process. The physical upkeep of my campus is well-preferred over virtual classes which bore me to sleep at times.
Brenda Ojeda, Queens College
I am a freshman who majors in Political Science. I hope to learn more about my community and help future generations with the knowledge I acquire. I hope to attend graduate school in order to become a lawyer. I have always admired lawyers. This interest was sparked through the attendance of environmental rallies and engagement in my AP Government courses. I am able to pay my tuition through Federal Pell Grants. However, Federal Aid doesn’t cover all of my tuition expenses so I receive financial assistance through my father. Concerning the Federal Pell Grant process, it is not declared how much aid a student may initially receive. Therefore, the school selection process is deemed a bit challenging in terms of out-of-pocket pay expectancy. Aside from Federal Pell, I recommend that New York State Tuition Assistance Program aides in clarifying the application process so students could complete the application process more efficiently. I’m a first-generation college student, in result I experience the pressure to do well throughout my academic career. I live off-campus, so at times it can be confusing to virtually navigate my tuition and billing information through CUNY. I find the physical upkeep of the campus to be up to part and accessibility to classes/advisement to be convenient. However, I have received professors that experience confusion due to having to hold various amounts of classes during a semester because they are under-paid and need to teach so many classes to provide for themselves.
Nicholas Suresh, Queens College
I am a sophomore at Queens College, majoring in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. After college, I would like to be an elementary school teacher in New York City or another part of the state. I am involved in the community as I volunteer to feed the homeless and tutor children in an afterschool program.
Not too long ago, I was in a darker place, however. During the pandemic I transferred from the Von College of Aeronautics and Technology. Many professors at this institution assume that incoming freshmen are proficient in math to a certain level, regardless of their educational background. This model didn’t work for me, as I struggled with math in high school. As a result, I had a nervous breakdown when faced with tough physics and math classes in college. I experienced intense anxiety and insomnia, and couldn’t see an end in sight. Eventually I decided to transfer to Queens College. This entailed hefty paperwork and planning. I knew this was the right decision for me, but it was extremely difficult to put myself together while breaking apart every day from mental health issues.
At this time, I also felt restricted by my parents and by circumstance. As a first generation college student, it is hard for my parents to understand what I go through in college. They are also cautious about my safety, which made it hard for me to make friends and explore the city during high school. My parents are paying out of pocket for my college education, which I am grateful for. At the same time, it comes with a tradeoff of sacrificing my freedom for my education.
Upon transferring to Queens College, things started to look a bit brighter. I immediately met with my advisor at QC, who is a friendly and warm individual. She guided me to the best courses for me and in the right sequence. I also applied for a job at a local after school tutoring program at this time. Now I serve as a counselor and tutor for middle school students. I love my job and it is the driving force that keeps me focused on my schoolwork. My job also gives me more financial independence from my parents, so that I can cover some of my expenses. With my earnings, I ride public transportation around the city. Riding buses and the subway makes me feel like I have more freedom. At QC my job, my advisor, and my major have made a world of difference in my life.
Although my life has turned around over the past year or so, the public higher education system still needs improvement. For instance, institutions should offer more mental health and tutoring services for students struggling with courses and all students should have access to helpful advisors. We need more funding for higher education to bring these essential services to students.
Amanda Argueta, Nassau Community College
I am a freshman at Nassau Community College. Currently, I’m a Liberal Arts Major, but I’m thinking of switching into the Nursing program. My parents and I pay for school out-of-pocket. I work a lot to help pay for my part. Usually, I work about 25 hours a week, doing five hour shifts five days a week. I used to work less, but I’ve had to increase my hours because of tuition. Now it’s harder to make time for my schoolwork.
As a DACA student, I can’t get any federal aid. I had to look for other scholarships, but it’s been hard because I’m the first person in my family to go to college, so no one could really help me at home. What made things more difficult was that I was almost charged out-of-state tuition. NCC said that since I was not a resident, I did not qualify for in-state tuition. I had to jump through a lot of hoops and send them a lot of extra documents to finally get in-state tuition.
Melissa Hernandez, SUNY Cortland
My name is Melissa Hernandez and I attend SUNY Cortland full time. I am a senior and have been here since freshman year. I am from Long Island, and my Senate District is 3 and my Assembly District is 16. When I was applying to college my first choice was University of Tampa but unfortunately I did not get enough financial aid to afford it and began to look at SUNY and CUNY schools. Out of all the SUNY and CUNY schools I applied to, I felt that SUNY Cortland was the best fit for me. I had toured many schools previously and although I toured Tampa and fell in love, SUNY Cortland also gave me the same feeling I felt when I toured Tampa. I knew a few people who had gone to Cortland and heard all their great memories which made me feel more comfortable and excited to come. I am majoring in political science and I do really enjoy this major. I am taking a year off before applying to graduate school to focus on myself and future opportunities.
I pay my tuition through the help of my parents and financial aid. I am fortunate enough that my tuition has been paid through financial aid. I work almost everyday over the summer to help pay sometimes my rent at school and other personal spending I might have. I am the first child in my family to go to college and understood that my parents would not be able to pay full tuition without getting some financial help, however, before I began my college career I always had the impression that going to a SUNY or CUNY school would be considered to be less than nothing in terms of tuition. I think that since tuition has risen over the decade it is very unfortunate for many, myself included. It is not fair that society places this idea that college is a stepping stone for an individual to get a good job and make it in today’s world. Not only is tuition an expense at college but textbooks are another cost for students. Textbooks depending on the class vary but still add up and can be very expensive. Textbooks should not be an extra expense for students.
The pandemic was a hard time for my family because my mom is diabetic which meant she was at a high risk, which then made it difficult for my dad to continue to work. My mom is a nanny and my dad has a painting service. My dad is an independent company which already makes it hard enough, and then when the pandemic hit it made it harder for him. During this time, I had recovered from unemployment and later began working again in July which allowed me to save enough money to pay my rent junior year without the help of my parents because of how tight money was.
I personally always wanted to go to college because of the promise that going to college means I would have a good job. I want to finish my degree to have a comfortable life and be able to support myself. I think that although school does cost a lot I would still be at school, however, I would have prepared myself financially before I attended.
Hifza Hameed, Brooklyn College
I am a freshman at Brooklyn College. I’m currently undecided. But I hope to major in something that will guarantee a job as soon as possible, so I’ll probably major in something STEM-related. I always knew I had to study and get a higher education so I could be financially independent, move out, and live my life on my own terms.
I currently receive a Pell Grant and TAP. I am the first woman in my family to go to college. I hate the anxiety of filling out my FAFSA when I don’t know how much money I’ll receive. I don’t know why I received less money this year too. The financial aid I receive covers my tuition, textbooks and lab fees. But it does not cover rent, food, and living expenses. I don’t have a job right now but I am looking for one so that I can cover the added expenses of college that people don’t normally consider. I’d never be able to pay rent and pay tuition at the same time. That’s why I still live with my family. TAP should be expanded so that students can better focus on their studies and worry less about the added expenses of education.
Kiara Lo Coco, Borough of Manhattan Community College
I’m a first-year student majoring in criminal justice. After obtaining my bachelors I want to go to law school and become a criminal lawyer or a human rights lawyer. I receive TAP and a Pell Grant along with financial aid. My tuition is covered.
Unfortunately I do not have my own advisor. I have an opportunity to join the BLA program at my college but I fear that if I join BLA I will not be able to get any help from other programs such as ASAP. College textbooks, lunch, and transportation are expenses outside of tuition. I was looking for a job but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been made difficult to find a job and register for the upcoming semesters’ classes. My family and I are immigrants from Italy. Nobody in my family is working right now because of the pandemic. If I don’t get a STEM waiver, I will not be able to afford summer or winter courses. I am fortunate that I am able to attend college and receive an education that I can be proud of.
Personally I’m a very determined student. Being an immigrant pushes me to achieve unimaginable things such as getting a high school diploma in one year and doing 4 years’ worth of high school material by going to Saturday classes and waking up very early. I make sure that I am still on track even now because I’m that determined. We need a fully-funded CUNY because we are very motivated and dedicated students. If CUNY were to be fully funded, we would have better infrastructure that would allow us to get to class on time, instead of taking detours, and the staff we need to succeed.
Judley Baltazard, City College of NY
I’m a junior majoring in Sociology. My future plans include graduate school to become a clinical therapist. I value all the resources available to be able to gain the skills necessary to further my career.
I am able to attend college through financial aid, including TAP and a Pell grant. I’m a first generation student, so furthering my education is more of a community achievement than anything else. Although I receive financial aid I have sought part-time employment to aid with my many expenses i.e food, bills, clothes, etc. I was unable, however, due to my heavy class load of 5 classes per semester. This class load is essential in order to receive the TAP and Pell grants which cap after four years.
A fully funded CUNY is fundamental to not only the success of thousands of students but the economy as a whole.